fbpx

Budgeting With The Best

With my last post I wrote about setting goals. That ties into the post I am writing now very well. If your goal is to make a budget, save money or get out of debt this post is for you. I am going to explain to you about budgeting with the best of them! Today I would like to talk a little about those things.

In a survey by intuit 65% of Americans have no idea how much they spent in the previous month. This means that only 35% truly have a budget. You should know how much money comes in (income) and how much goes out (expenditures) each month and budgeting with the best of them will teach this. 54% of Americans say they never check their credit scores, there are a couple of reasons you should check your credit score regularly. You should know what your credit score is especially if you’re building your credit. By checking your credit, you will also know what debts you have.

On average Americans overspend by $7400 every year. the weekly amount that people spend not including the NEEDS bills (mortgage or rent, utilities etc..) is $340, this is $143 more than the average $197 budgeted amount. This could be your morning run to Starbucks or eating out every night, it all adds up. So, budgeting with a plan shows you how it makes sense to create a budget to curb the overspending. 

What Does Your Debt Look Like?

American’s average $90,460 in debt, this includes all types of debt from credit cards to personal loans, mortgages and student debt. Gen X is leading in all categories except personal loans. They have the highest credit card balance at $8,215. Gen X have the highest auto loan balance, at $21,570 and have the highest average mortgage balance, at $238,344. They have the highest amount of student loan debt, an average of $39,981. Home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) averaged highest for Gen X, at $49,221.

How much do you owe? You should know exactly how much you owe on everything like what is the pay off amount on your house or car? It is imperative that you know these because if you don’t you will not know what you are saving for and how long it will take. Make a list of debts and the payoff

Why Is A Budget Plan Important?

The importance of making a budget is a financial lesson that cannot be overemphasized. If you and your family want financial security, following a budget is the only answer for many reasons. A budget is simply a spending plan that considers both current and future income and expenses. Having a budget keeps your spending in check and makes sure your savings are on track for the future.

A budget helps you figure out your long-term goals and work towards them. It helps ensure you don’t spend money you don’t have this is how you got into debt in the first place. Budgeting helps lead to a happier retirement as you pay off debt you will have more to save for your retirement. It helps you prepare for emergencies.

Choose A Budgeting Plan

Any budget must cover all your needs, some of your wants and — this is key — savings for emergencies and the future. The budgeting plan I am going to talk about today will include the envelope system and the zero-based budget. Let’s dig in and get to work.

First, I would like to talk about income. This is the amount of money that is made by the household. There are two kinds of income Gross and Net. Your Gross income is what you make before any deductions. Net is what you make after deductions this is what you bring home. When we talk about income for this post, we will be talking about your net income. There is a popular budget the 50/30/20 budget. This requires that 50% of your income will go to the needs, no more than 30% on wants, and at least 20% on savings and debt repayment.

Save 50% Of Your Income For Needs

You should save 50% of your income is saved for your needs. Needs are the things that are essential to life. Your needs should include but are not limited to, groceries, housing, basic utilities (electric, water, sewer, garbage, and phone), transportation, insurance. Minimum loan payments. Anything beyond the minimum goes into the savings and debt repayment category. Childcare or other expenses you need so you can work.

If your absolute essentials overshoot the 50% mark, you may need to dip into the “wants” portion of your budget for a while. It’s not the end of the world, but you’ll have to adjust your spending. You can also shop your insurance, look for cheaper phone service, cheaper transportation or childcare.

Separating wants from needs can be difficult. In general, though, needs are essential for you to live and work. You might want to include dinners out, gifts, travel and entertainment. These are not needs! It is not always easy to decide. Is a gym membership a want or a need? How about organic groceries? Decisions vary from person to person.

Even if your necessities fall under the 50% cap, revisiting these fixed expenses occasionally is smart. You may find a better cell phone plan, an opportunity to refinance your mortgage or less expensive car insurance. That leaves you more to work with elsewhere.

Leave 30% Of Your Income For Wants

Wants include but are not limited to entertainment, vacation fund, eating out and anything else that is not needed to live. If you’re eager to get out of debt as fast as you can, you may decide your wants can wait until you have some savings, or your debts are under control. But your budget shouldn’t be so austere that you can never buy anything just for fun.

Every budget needs flexibility and some money you are entitled to spend as you wish.” Your budget is a tool to help you, not a straitjacket to keep you from enjoying life, ever. If there’s no money for fun, you’ll be less likely to stick with your budget and a good budget is one you’ll stick with.

Commit 20% Of Your Income To Savings And Debt Repayment

Use 20% of your after-tax income to put something away for the unexpected, save for the future and pay off debt. Make sure you think of the bigger financial picture. That may mean two-stepping between savings and debt repayment to accomplish your most pressing goals.

Savings Vs Debt repayment

Save first there are many reasons to save retirement, emergencies, vacation, new car and many other reasons. I would suggest establishing an emergency fund that can cover 3-9 months of your living expenses. Assume that if you lose your job, you’ll sacrifice luxuries such as pedicures or your premium cable TV package. Take your 50% divide that number in half. Can you save this monthly? If so, you’ll build a six-month emergency fund within the next year. This will give you money to help if you were to lose your job yes you may get unemployment. Unemployment runs out and may not be as much as you would need to pay your “needs” portion.

Obviously this is a huge task so if you can’t get it done in a year it is ok! Take 10% of your 20% put it in an account put the other to your debt. Start with the smallest debt work on it and pay minimum payment on everything else. Once it is payed off pick the next one and put it all to that one look for the interest vs balance. It might be better to pay on the higher interest than the higher amounts. Let’s say you have a school loan that is a huge amount like $30k at 3% interest. You have another loan on your car but since your credit might not have been the best your paying a slightly higher interest on your $25k loan at 7%. You are better off to pay off the car because you will pay more in interest.

Zero Balance Budgeting

Budgeting with the best of the requires the zero balance budget. The zero balance budget relies on the concept that you would allocate all the funds that month to something. Imagine having a checking account that has a zero balance at the end of every month.

Let’s say that you have $3000 net income This is $36k a year depending what state you live in this could bre decent or lower class income. but on average it is lower class. Look at the example by taking your 50/30/20 budget and applying it this way this is how it will be spent. If you have money left over, you are not done put the money somewhere. You can put extra money towards debt or into savings. We do not want money that is not going to a certain place we want zero balance at the end of the month.

According to surveys by Dave Ramsey conducted in Financial Peace University classes, people who do a zero-based budget (versus those who don’t) pay off 19% more debt and save 18% more money! Just from having a plan! The sooner you make a zero-based budget part of your money-handling strategy, the sooner you’ll start to see your debt go down and your savings go up.

Trimming The Fat

You would probably ask what if I spend more than I make? Well, there are a few ways you can change that could help.

  • Stay away from eating out! You could save a couple hundred by not eating out. Also eating leftovers at home and clipping coupons will help save money on the groceries budget.
  • Cut the cord! Cut out cable and Netflix or maybe chose one streaming service and only watch that one cut everything else.
  • Get rid of your car payment. You can find a used car that will get you around and not have a large payment on a vehicle.
  • Sell some of your items that you do not use or don’t use frequently.
  • Get a second job.
  • There are so many ways to trim and that is another blog post all together.

Envelope System

What is envelope budgeting? The concept of envelope budgeting is simple: you list out your expenses, label an envelope with each of those budget categories, and fill them with the cash you’ve allocated to each category. Spend as needed when an envelope is empty, you know you’re at your spending limit for the month in that category.

Could be as easy as using the 50% 30% and 20% categories. However, making a list of your expenses will show you more of where your money goes each month. Make a list of all your monthly expenses and how much you spend on each one. You might want to look at your transactions for the last few months to jog your memory so you’re sure to catch everything you spend money on.

Here are a few common budget envelope categories are rent/mortgage, utilities, food, transportation, childcare, minimum debt payments and entertainment (cable, streaming services and others).

Make sure to list irregular expenses that don’t happen every month, like bills that you pay every other month. Personally, we pay our water and sewer every other month. We would split the bill in half and put that in the envelope every month.

Here are a few common irregular expenses car maintenance, clothes, gifts, holiday expenses, vet bills, pet expenses and personal care services (like haircuts)

Wrap it up

to wrap it up budgeting with the best of them is the start to a debt free future if that is your goal. If your goal is just to save some money this will help that too I hope that you can get what you want and this helped. My wife and I have used these methods of budgeting with the best of them and they do work we have many envelopes and have saved the emergency funds plus some and other savings categories too. We have also been able to pay off debt we payed off a credit card and a car loan years earier than paying normal payments.

It is not always easy but when you look back and see what you have accomplished you will be amazed. Take what you have learned and keep learning make this your budget find what works for you if this doesn’t. Try to keep the 50/30/20 and zero ballance. the envelopes are good but if you can be good with money it can bemanaged with bank accounts.

Goal Setting

As we get closer to the beginning of a new year, we tie up the loose ends of 2020 and start 2021. I wanted to talk about goal setting. By setting goals you give yourself mental boundaries, long term vision and a short term vision to make your plans.

What Is Goal Setting?

According to Wikipedia the exact definition of a goal is: A desired result a person or a system envisions, plans, and commits to achieve a personal or organizational desired ending point in some sort of assumed development. Many people endeavor to reach goals within a finite time by setting deadlines. So the next time you are planning on doing the weekly chores or decide on watching that really cool action movie after work, always keep in mind that these small tasks account as goals and while seemingly insignificant you are goal setting.

Why Is Goal Setting Important?

Aristotle once said, “well begun is half done.”  In other words, if you do something well at the beginning, you are halfway to a successful completion. Setting goals is the beginning and when you set a goal for yourself you make yourself accountable to finish the task. Planning your future regardless of what it is, is goal setting. If you want to succeed, you need to set goals.

Having goals for things we want to do and working towards them is an important part of being human. The path towards our goals may not always run smoothly or be easy, but having goals, is part of what makes life good.

By setting goals for yourself you can measure your progress because you always have a fixed endpoint or benchmark to compare with. It gives us a sense of meaning and purpose, points us in the direction we want to go and gets us interested and engaged. All of which are good for our overall happiness.

Setting goals gives you long-term vision and short-term motivation. It focuses your acquisition of knowledge. Setting goals helps you to organize your time and your resources so that you can make the most of your life. Goal setting not only allows you to take control of your life’s direction, but it also provides you a benchmark for determining whether you are succeeding. Without goals you lack focus and direction.

Where Do I Start?

This quote comes from Steve Garvey, a former professional baseball player. He said: “You have to set goals that are almost out of reach. If you set a goal that is attainable without much work or thought, you are stuck with something below your true talent and potential.” So I Say set a goal that you have no clue how to reach it. This will make you reach out to people that can help you or do some research to obtain it. Either way you need to learn something new. I am a strong believer in you never stop learning and this is a way to force it to happen.

After you have set the almost obtainable goal then let’s start with the long-term goals, 10-year and 5-year goals. Take some time sit back and really think about it. Don’t just say I want to be a millionaire. Who doesn’t? Let’s get specific Like I want to own my own construction company building new houses. This is specific enough to know what direction I want to go to get there. But do not just stop at one goal over a 10-year period.

Set Goals In Writing

The physical act of writing down a goal makes it real. You are 42 percent more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down. Writing your goals down not only forces you to get clear on what exactly, it is that you want to accomplish, but doing so plays a part in motivating you to complete the tasks necessary for your success You have no excuse for forgetting about it.

Writing down your goals helps create a vision in your mind of how you want to be in the future. You can visually see the goal and understand the difference it will make in your life. When we see something clearly it creates change in how we act as we have clarity and direction. So, post your goals in visible places to remind yourself every day of what it is you intend to do. Put them on your walls, desk, computer monitor, bathroom mirror or refrigerator as a constant reminder.

Short-Term Goals

You have set your long-term goals and wrote them down. You have them on the fridge and all over the house and at work. Now it’s time to look at how we get there. We can start on the yearly goal. Think about how to get to your 5-years goal. What do you need to do to get to your five-year goal? If going with the previous example you are looking to become a contractor in year one you would need to take a test or some classes to pass the test to get your contractor’s license. Getting a business license or insurance could be another goal.

Every Little Step

The goals you can break into steps that can become daily, weekly and maybe even monthly goals. White these down too post them up where you can see them. Sometimes a To-Do list is a good way to make these goals. If you use a To-Do List , make yourself a To-Do List template that has your long-term goals at the top of it.

Sometimes you get so focused on the outcome that you forget to plan all the steps that are needed along the way. By writing out the individual steps, and then crossing each one off as you complete it, you’ll realize that you are making progress towards your ultimate goal. When you start to reach your goals it feels good and you will want to do it again.

This is especially important if your goal is big and demanding, or long-term. Let’s say that your long term is to become debt free and you have a huge debt with school bills, car loan, credit cards, and your mortgage payment. Let’s start with the credit cards for a couple reasons. First reason it is probably the lowest amount second is that it is probably the highest interest. You would make a budget ( I will cover this in my next blog post) Take any extra money and put it to the cards. When you pay one off you will feel so much better then it gives you more money to put toward the next one.

Goals are the first step towards planning for the future it is up to you to take that step. Like the child that is learning how to walk you can’t just stop after one step keep the momentum going forward. soon you will be on your way and checking off goals. If you would like help on making a goal contact me.

Why is networking so important?

Did you ever wish you knew a guy at a place that would help your business, or did you ever wish you had a marketing team? Are you tired of making cold calls? Have you thought about why is networking so important. Did you know that building a network can be the best form of marketing. They say word of mouth is good marketing. this is word of mouth at its best. If you have business partners going to bat for you and saying that they trust you and would or even have used your services that goes a long way with most people.

Philiosphy

Networking serves as an avenue to create long-term relationships with mutual benefits. I have been a part of a few networking groups but BNI had a great philosophy called “givers gain”. It is a philosophy based on the law of reciprocity.

In the context of networking groups, people who adopt this philosophy dedicate themselves to giving business to their fellow networkers rather than making their foremost concern getting business for themselves. So, by giving business to others, you will get business in return. This is predicated on the age-old idea of “What goes around, comes around.”

How it Works

Networking allows you access to opportunities you might not be able to find on your own. Your network has the potential to provide you with insight into different fields, information on what potential employers look for and advice on how you can improve professionally. If you are willing to form and maintain the relationship, a single contact could get you into meetings with several companies. You do not have to work to form connections at each company. You can work harder or smarter why not work smarted and let others help.

Top career individuals that are where they are today is a result of the status they have grown in networking. The contacts you keep are largely attributed to your growth. They largely influence growth in your status and pave the way for better opportunities in your career. Your connections are powerful!

1 on 1

Your networking group should be like a community. Everyone should be working to grow the group. You should be meeting weekly as a group and do one or two one on one meetings with members of the group. Becasue one on ones give you a chance to get to know the people in your group on a personal level.

People will refer business to to people they know, trust and like. Just because you know someone doesn’t mean that they will send you referrals. Even if you go to meetings with them weekly they need to trust you and like you, People need to trust that you will take care of their referral. They also need to like you. I can know you and trust that you will do your job and take care of my referral but so will lots of other people that do the samething as you.

Develop long-lasting relationships

If networking is a mutual relationship, then having a right networking channel can help build your career.  Though networking might not be an easy and fast approach to building a long-lasting relationship. But making it a two-way process of giving and taking and can open the door for a firmer relationship. People that have made networking their sole priority have been able to build careers relevant to their set down goals.

“You don’t build a business you build people,

and then people build the business.” ~unknown~

Avenue for newer opportunities

When people start noticing you, it opens the door for newer opportunities. Business and career-minded individuals who have networked over time have been able to expand with minimal effort because of the avenue of newer opportunities opened to them through networking. Opportunities like meeting the right clients or even meeting people that are superior to your career path could be a stepping stone that could change your life for the better.

In short, the network you create is like your marketing department. They are hopefully out there keeping their eyes and ears open to find you leads and you should be doing the same. Seats in some groups are worth 60k to 100k a year in referrals beacuse they make an effort to help eachother find business. If you make the connections and work to grow the group you can get any group to this level. If you are looking to make a connection join my facebook group or contact me

Seek out networking events

 Socializing in person is still your best chance of creating a successful network. Attending company mixers, corporate retreats or community events will expose you to a variety of important contacts. Most likely, others at the events will also be networking and will be happy to exchange business cards or contact information. Be aware of your company’s social calendar, your alma mater’s reunion schedule and your community’s social scene in order to find promising events.

Emergency Action Plan

With the recent fires on the west coast and so many people had to leave their homes in such a hurry I decided to write this blog post. If anything, 2020 has taught us as a nation natural disasters, disease outbreaks, and emergencies can have widespread and even long-lasting impacts on supplies, services, and the public health and health care systems. So why do only 28% of Americans have an emergency preparedness kit?

Emergency Action Plan

This is more than a collection of names and phone numbers. It is your Emergency Action Plan this is what you are going to do when it is time to go. What will you do where will you go? How will you get there? These are the steps you are going to take to get out and on your way to safety. 80 percent of respondents to FEMA’s 2019 National Household Survey said they had gathered enough Supplies to last three or more days. Just 48 percent said they had an emergency action plan. · Find phone numbers for your physician, pediatrician, pharmacist, counselor, Poison Control Center, and veterinarian.

  • Collect and protect important paperwork, such as advance directives (e.g., living wills and power of attorney forms)
  • Ask a friend or relative who lives outside of the immediate area—preferably in another state to be your family’s Out-of-Town Contact.

Identify a shelter-in-place location inside your home, a “sick room” that can be used to separate sick household members from those who are healthy, · Make two emergency meeting places outside your home where your family can reunite in an emergency. Discuss at least two ways out of every room in your home.

  • Locate boarding facilities or animal hospitals where you can lodge your pets if needed.
  • Does the school have a family reunification plan?

Take Action

What Does “Take Action” Mean? Taking action is about improving your capability to protect your health and wellness during an emergency. It includes gathering essential supplies, learning self-help skill, and gaining the self-confidence you need to respond during an emergency. Be prepared for when emergency supplies are not available. Where do we start?

Personal Items

  • Pack emergency supplies in a portable and durable container, such as a plastic bin, duffle bag, backpack, trash can with a lid, and/or carry-on luggage. If you live in a flood zone you might choose to make it waterproof.
  • Stock canned foods, dry mixes, and other staples that do not require refrigeration, cooking, water, or special preparation.
  • Store at least 1 gallon of water per day for each person and each pet. Store more water for hot climates for pregnant, and for people who are sick.

Prescriptions

About half of all Americans take a prescribed medication as part of their daily routine. Chances are if you were involved in an emergency or disaster the pharmacy and doctors’ offices might not be open.

  • Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about creating an emergency supply of essential medications.
  • An up-to-date list of all prescription medications that also includes information on diagnosis, dosage, frequency, medical supply needs, and known allergies.
  • Nonprescription drugs, including pain and fever relievers, diuretics, antihistamines, and antidiarrheal medications.
  • A cooler and chemical ice packs for storing and keeping medicines that require refrigeration cold.

According to the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 31 percent of hurricane-related emergency department visits in North Carolina during Hurricane Florence were for medication refills. Effective messaging to the public, health care providers, and pharmacists before hurricanes should emphasize the importance of prescription preparedness. Here are the links for Oregon and Washington. Oregon Emergency Pharmacy Rules, Washington Emergency Pharmacy Rules

Paperwork

Any important documents and personal data that might serve as proof of insurance or identity or instruct others on how to help you in an emergency. Here are some of the basics.

  • Copies of insurance cards and medical records, such as your Health insurance card, Immunization any vital records, including birth certificates and death certificates.
  • Personal identification, such as Driver’s license, Social Security Card and Passport,

· cash in small denominations and coins in case ATMs and pay-at-the-pump gasoline systems are out of order.

  • Store external drives and hardcopies of important papers in a fireproof and water-resistant file organizer, container or storage bag, with a trusted friend or relative, or in a safety deposit box at a bank.
  • Digitize hard copies and save electronic copies of important papers in a password-protected format to a flash or external hard drive or a secure cloud service.
  • Pet owners: Make copies of important vet information, such as a Rabies certificate, vaccinations, prescriptions, a recent photograph of your pet(s), and microchip registration information (e.g., microchip number, and name and number of the manufacturer).
  • Request your medical records from your health care provider to help you understand, advocate for, and manage your health care.

Power Sources

On average, people experience about four hours of power loss each year. Power outages caused by a large-scale disaster can last longer and be life threatening for people who depend on home use medical devices. Here are a few tips on how to be prepared if you should lose power during an emergency.

  • Emergency lighting, such as a flashlight, head lamp, or battery-powered lantern
  • Extra batteries in common sizes, such as AA and AAA
  • A generator with at least 20 feet of extension cord(s) rated for outdoor use and enough fuel to keep it running.
  • Car charger(s), power banks, and adapters for home use equipment and devices
  • A battery-powered or hand-crank NOAA weather radio with USB port(s)
  • Battery-powered or -backup smoke alarms and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors
  • Appliance thermometers for your refrigerator and freezer
  • A surge protector power strip(s)
  • Warm clothes, blankets, sleeping bags, and emergency (or space) blankets to keep you warm in cold temperatures

I hope this helps you on your way to making an Emergency action plan. Making a kit is great but it is not the end. Other things to think about. · Take a video of all the things in your house for insurance purposes. This will help adjusters and save time in closing your claim. Make sure to get all the valuables and electronics. Take a CPR class and learn some basic first aid. You never know when you will need these skills. Take a survival class. This is not all about being lost in the woods. Survival tip can be useful when you are out of power and everything is closed.

Use a life insurance policy with your business

You know your business better than anyone. Do you know how you can use a life insurance policy to protect or grow your business? Many business owners know life insurance can protect families if a primary earner dies, but it can also help protect your business if a key employee dies.

Key person

Key person insurance may make sense in many circumstances:

  • If the business’ reputation and financial viability are critically linked to the key employee’s name, reputation or unique skills, and the key employee’s death could end the business.
  • The death of a key employee like a top salesperson could quickly threaten the company financially.
  • If a financial institution or other creditor needs collateral for a business loan and requires the option of putting a lien on a key person policy.
  • If the business is a partnership and each partner wants to be able to buy out the other’s shares in case of an untimely death.

According to the IRS, premiums for a life insurance policy aren’t a deductible business’ expense on federal income taxes. There is no set formula for deciding the monetary value of your key person insurance. You may want to start by considering the financial effects a key employee’s death would have on your company.

For instance, if you are a sole proprietor buying key person insurance on yourself. You may want enough coverage to help your heirs close your business and pay off any company debts. If you own a larger company and are insuring a key employee, you may need enough coverage to replace that person’s sales income. It could also provide a financial cushion while you search for the employee’s replacement.

Many business owners use life insurance as an excellent benefit to offer valuable employees. Life insurance can be used to recruit, retain, and reward valuable employees crucial to the success of your business. Since it is not a qualified benefit, you can determine who is eligible without having to offer to all employees.

Permanent Life Insurance

Permanent life insurance policies allow you to build cash value within your policy as you pay premiums. This cash value can serve as a rainy day fund in lean times for your business because you can take out loans from the life insurance policy against that cash value.There are less credit score worries for your business to qualify for a loan, because the life insurance company will use your cash value as collateral. The loan will likely have a significantly lower interest rate than what you can secure from a bank.

One way a business owner can utilize life insurance is to help secure a business loan. Certain banks and lenders may allow you to list life insurance as an asset when being considered for a loan. Other lenders may allow a collateral assignment, where a business owner with a life insurance policy collaterally assigns the policy to the bank/lender.

If you die, the bank receives their portion of the death benefit based on your loan collateral agreement, covering some, or potentially all, of your loan amount. This can reduce your risk as a borrower and play a role in securing a potentially lower loan interest rate. If you need any of these or have any questions contact me. Share this post below if you enjoyed it.

Flood Insurance-What does it really cover?

Let’s chat about this.

So, my wife was on Facebook and she came across a Go Fund Me Account. This person had a flood from the rain that happened in Oregon during a flash flood warning that was placed. The description stated that the persons insurance agent told them that flood insurance did not cover floods that were an “Act of God.” I do not know what it would cover then if this was the case. I do not know much more about this other than their insurance agent did not want to help them out here. So I decided to write this blog post to explain what flood insurance is. Hope this helps your understanding of what it is and why I believe everyone should have it.

Am I Required to Have Flood Insurance?

Homes and businesses in high-risk flood areas with mortgages are generally required to have flood insurance. If you are outside of the high-risk area you are not required to have flood insurance. Even if you are not in the high-risk area flooding can happen to anyone. Flooding can happen anywhere at any time. Poor drainage systems, summer storms, melting snow, neighborhood construction, and broken water mains can all result in flooding.

In fact, from 2014 to 2018, policyholders outside of high-risk flood areas filed over 40 percent of all National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) flood insurance claims and required one-third of federal disaster assistance for flooding. No home is completely safe from potential flooding. When just one inch of water in a home can cost more than $25,000 in damage, flood insurance can be the difference between recovery and financial devastation.

What is considered a flood?

In simple terms, a flood is an excess of water on land that is normally dry, affecting two or more acres of land or two or more properties. For example, damage caused by a sewer backup is covered if the backup is a direct result of flooding. If the sewer backup is not caused directly by flooding, the damage is not covered.

What does flood insurance cover?

There are two types of coverage Building and Contents coverage. Building coverage will cover the basic home stuff like electrical and plumbing to carpet and drywall. It also covers your appliances dishwashers, refrigerators, and stoves to your furnace and hot water heater. It will cover detached garages, fuel tanks and well water systems.

Contents coverage covers your personal belongings. Think of the thing you would pack if you were to sell your house and move out. Personal belongings such as clothing, furniture, and electronic equipment, washer and dryer, microwave oven.

Valuable items such as original artwork, furs, guns, comic books, basically any kind of collection (up to $2,500). If you have collections that are worth more than $2500 you need to schedule them this will include an appraisal. The coverage limits are $250,000 for the building and $100,000 for the contents they will be purchased separately and typically have a deductible.If you would like to look into flood insurance, get a quote, or just have questions please call me.

4 Insurance Policies to Consider

Most people don’t think about these 4 insurance policies when making their financial decisions. We think about the obvious auto and home/renters but we forget about these important policies. These 4 insurance policies are very important also and can determine your families future.

Long-Term Disability Insurance

Long-term disability insurance protects you from loss of income if you are unable to work for a long period of time due to an illness or injury. Do not think a permanent disability could sideline you and your ability to work? According to the Social Security Administration, just over one in four of today’s 20-year-olds will become disabled before reaching age 67.

If something were to happen to you tomorrow and you would be disabled for the rest of your life how doe that look for you? Do you buy a house? Are you able to send your kids to college? Make sure you are covered. If you are offered this at work great check your options and make sure that you will get enough to live with. As you investigate your options, you will also find short-term disability insurance designed to fill in income gaps caused by an illness or injury that keeps you out of work for three to six months.

Term Life Insurance

The Insurance Information Institute reports that 30% of Americans carry no life insurance. Think about it how many of us take life insurance too lightly. If you were to pass away unexpectedly, how would your spouse pay for monthly expenses without your income? In the dark moments of grief, the last thing your spouse should worry about is surviving financially in your absence.

With a term life insurance policy for 10–12 times your yearly income, your family will not have to worry. They will not have to worry about making ends meet, losing their home or changing their college plans if you’re not there to provide for them. Make this a priority. Talk to Bridge City Brokerage about term life insurance today. It is affordable and will provide priceless security for your family. What about singles with no dependents? If you have a ton of debt and no savings, consider a small term life insurance policy.

A healthy 30-year-old can easily find an affordable policy. Policies that will at least pay off your debt and cover your burial expenses. If you are debt-free and have enough cash to pay for your burial, you can hold off on life insurance, but why would you? The younger you are, the more affordable term life insurance is, so there is no reason to wait until you have a family to get insured. Contact Zander Insurance to get a term life insurance quote now.

Long-Term Care Insurance

Long-term care insurance covers a range of services. It covers nursing home care and in-home help with basic personal tasks like bathing, grooming, and eating. Usually, long-term care refers to any ongoing assistance for those who have a chronic illness or disability. It is expensive, and long-term care costs are not generally covered by Medicare. Medicare also will not kick in if you have assets, so you must spend your retirement and sell your home.

So, who really needs long-term care? To protect your retirement savings and assets from the expenses of long-term care, get long-term care coverage no later than age 60. Remember that while you are not likely to need long-term care before then, many factors like your health and family history go into your decision when to buy long-term care insurance and how much you will pay for it. This also goes with number one if you were to become disabled there could be a lot of medical expenses that come with it and Long-term care will help cover them. That is why it is important to talk to Bridge City Brokerage about long-term care that fits your personal situation. And even if you are not close to this stage of life, your parents might be, so take time to investigate their long-term care options too.

Identity Theft Protection

Cybercrime and identity fraud are real threats even if you are careful about protecting your personal information. National retail stores are under constant attack by industrious hackers who break into their payment systems, leaving millions of people vulnerable to theft. According to a 2019 Identity Fraud Study released by Javelin Strategy and Research 23% of faud victims had unreimbursed personal expenses in 2018. That is 3 times more that 2016! Fraudsters are starting new accounts under their victims names these can be bank accounts, mortgages, students loans, car loans, and credit cards.

Think about it, with a few important bits of information about you, criminals have all they need to ruin your finances. They can take out a mortgage in your name, receive medical care or file a false tax return. They can also go online and get your home title and sell your home! Cleaning up an identity fraud situation could take years to handle on your own. Make sure your insurance includes restoration services that assign a qualified counselor to clean up the mess for you.

One Final Point to Remember

One word of caution stay away from gimmick policies like cancer insurance, accidental death or anything that packages your coverage with investments like whole life or universal life. These types of insurance policies are just a way for the agent and companies to make extra money off you.

You need an agent who is on your side not the side of the insurance company. I am an independent agent and I am not beholden to any one company. That is why choosing Bridge City Brokerage is so important. An industry expert who will work with you to make sure you have the policies that fit your life now. I will help you anticipate the coverage you’ll need for the future. Plus, if you ever must file a claim, you will have an advocate on your side who will guide you through the process with any of these 4 insurance policies and more..

Homeowner’s Insurance Tips

The cost of homeowner’s insurance is one of those unavoidable expenses that comes along with owning a house. How much you’ll pay for insurance depends on your location, age of your home, square footage and amenities. The average annual homeowners insurance premium is $1200. That can feel like a big expense but knowing you will be reimbursed if something happens to your most valuable investment can be priceless.

Plus, your mortgage company may require that you keep a certain level of homeowner’s insurance. Most mortage companies will require that you make this payment to them. They will keep the payments in your escrow account and pay the premiums with it.

I have put together a list of secrets for you that might help you cut the cost of your premiums.

Talk to your insurance agent every year.

About two-thirds of American homes are underinsured, by an average of more than 60%, according to Nationwide. Before you start looking at ways to cut your insurance costs, it is important to understand what your current policy covers. Even though insurers have tried to make their contracts easier to digest, those thick renewal documents can still be confusing. Start with the declarations page, which is essentially the summary of your coverage. Then take a look at the exclusions page to see what your policy specifically doesn’t cover. If you are still having troubles, please call me I would be happy to help you out.

Boost the deductible.

Increasing your deductible can have an immediate impact on your insurance costs. A higher deductible will result in a lower premium because you will have to pay more out of pocket when a claim is filed. If you decide to increase your deductible, be realistic. You do not want to find yourself unable to afford a critical repair because you cannot cover the deductible cost.

Look for discounts.

When shopping around for insurance, ask a licensed insurance agent about discounts. Just like auto insurance, there are several discounts available ranging from customer loyalty program to Bundling your policies to enjoying a claim-free history. It can never hurt to ask contact me today.

Decide carefully about making claims.

Claims can drive up your premium. A large number of claims could cause insurance companies to see you as a high-risk customer. Depending on your carrier, you could even face cancellation for filing too many claims. If it is a minor claim that you can afford to pay out of pocket, it could save you money, in the long run, to pay for it yourself.

Make improvement to your home

So insurance carriers will give discounts for improvements made to the home that promote safety or that will keep the house from getting damaged. Example if you have a new roof installed you might get a discount because the chances of it leaking are less and most likely you would have a warranty if it did.

10 Things to Consider Before Making Your Next Car Purchase!

Are you in looking to buy a new vehicle? Getting a new car is an important financial decision – even more so when you have the luxury of planning out your car purchase ahead of time. So, do you have a plan for your next car purchase? How do you intend to pay for your new car? Some car buyers prefer to pay cash in full so that they can own their vehicle outright while avoiding monthly car payments. Some people finance their vehicle through the dealer, while others apply for a loan through their bank. Here are 10 things to consider before making your next car purchase:

1. Skip the loan and pay in cash

Paying in full for your car using cash can save you a significant chunk of money that you would otherwise spend on interest alone. Additionally, some dealerships also offer cash discounts to customers, as well.

2. Compare prices at multiple dealerships

If nothing else, shopping around at several dealers will at least give you an idea of what you can expect to get for your price range – and an advantage when negotiating, too.

3. Research your car ahead of time

Before you head out looking for a car, private party, or dealership, make sure you know the market value of the vehicles that you want. The easiest way to do this is to research the Kelley Blue Book price for each make and model. You may also want to check out the Consumer Report for the car, as well. When you find a car check the Carfax on it see if it has been involved in previous accidents. Carfax will also tell you the maintenance history as well sometimes depending on the shop the work was done at. Check out the Insurance cost of the vehicle. A 5000 Lbs. SUV will cost way more than a Prius. Search google for any areas that it might have issues. For instance, I really wanted a Durango I looked online and found that they would just shut down driving down the road for no apparent reason. I did not buy this car!

4. Choose used over new

Have you ever heard the expression your car depreciates as soon as you drive it off the lot? This is true sometimes by many thousands of dollars. Buying a car that is several years old will give you the opportunity to get more of the features you want at a lower price.

5. Do not be afraid to negotiate

It never hurts to negotiate the price of the car, especially if you notice any minor flaws. Most of the time, you can lower the price at least several hundred dollars by simply knowing the value of the car and being willing to walk away if the price is not right. This applies to both car dealerships and private individuals.

6. Use your old car for trade-in credit/ or sell it?

If you do not want to keep your current car there are options. Many dealerships will allow you to trade-in your old vehicle for a credit toward the new vehicle sale – some will even accept a trade-in for the down payment. However, if you sell it private owner you might get more money out of it. Some people do not want to take the time or energy to sell their vehicle, so they choose to trade it in.

7. Be aware of the entire cost

To save money when buying a car, it is especially important to make sure you factor in the entire cost. This includes the interest rate, extra features, insurance, and registration. Although it may seem you are saving money when you look at the monthly payment, you may be getting charged more once the interest rate is factored in. Most dealerships will roll it all into the financing minus the insurance. Remember when you finance a vehicle you must always maintain collision and comprehensive insurance coverage on the vehicle. If you do not the financial company will purchase insurance for the vehicle in their interest only (to protect the car) and charge you 3x more than if you had your own coverage. If you decide to pay cash you will also need to pay for any extra features, extended warranty, and registration costs.

8. Remain patient in your search

Starting your search with the mindset that you’ll drive home in a new vehicle that same day is one of the worst things that you can do when it comes to trying to save money when buying a car. It can lead to an impulse purchase, which is almost always synonymous with spending more money.

9. Compare financing programs

Just like different dealerships will have varying prices on their vehicles, you will find financing programs that are better than others. Plan on having at least three options to compare before settling on one.

10. Read the fine print on the loan

It is crucial to make sure you will not be subject to penalties for paying off your car faster. Paying extra on your monthly payments can help you pay off the loan early we paid a little extra when we could and ended up paying the car off two years early. So not only did we save money on the amount of interest we were going to pay, we also saved a monthly payment and now we have that as extra money each month to put to another bill or savings or whatever we choose to do with it.

On a final note, it is also important to go to the dealership with a plan. Know ahead of time the vehicle you want and the type of upgrades you are interested in so that in the excitement of buying a new car you do not allow yourself to agree to unnecessary up-sells and add-on packages. You will find it easier to save money when buying a car if you already have a well thought out plan in place.

5 Secrets to Lower Insurance Premiums in Oregon and Washington!

Do you have high insurance premiums and you don’t know why? I have 5 secrets that may help you understand why or things you may be able to change to lower your rates.

1. Improve Your Credit Rating

Folks are sometimes surprised to find that insurance companies may also consider credit ratings when determining insurance premiums.

Why is your credit rating considered? Many insurers use credit-based insurance scores. Insurers will say their studies show that if you are responsible in your personal life, you are less likely to file claims. Regardless of whether that is true, be aware that your credit rating IS a factor in figuring insurance premiums and do your utmost to keep it high.

2. Take a Defensive Driving Course

Sometimes insurance companies will provide a discount for those who complete an approved defensive driving course. Drivers may also be able to reduce the number of points they have on their licenses by taking a defensive driving, accident prevention, or other course. Make sure to ask your agent/insurance company about this discount before you sign up for a class. After all, it is important that the effort being expended, and the cost of the course translate into a big enough insurance savings. It is also important that the driver sign up for an accredited course. Every state has its own rules about accredited defensive driving courses.

3. Larger Cars Cost More

Buying a huge SUV may sound exciting, but insuring a 5,000-pound, top-of-the-line vehicle can be more expensive than insuring a small (but safe) lower-cost commuter car. Some insurers will offer a discount if you buy a hybrid or an alternative fuel vehicle. You can feel good about protecting the environment and save money on insurance at the same time. Find out the exact rates to insure the different vehicles you’re considering before making a purchase.

4. Increase Your Deductibles

When selecting car insurance, you can typically choose a deductible, which is the amount of money you would have to pay before insurance picks up the tab in the event of an accident, theft, or other types of damage to the vehicle. Depending on the policy, deductibles typically range from $250 to $1,000. The catch is that the lower the deductible, the higher the annual premium. Conversely, the higher the deductible, the lower the premium. Ask your agent how your premium might be affected if you raised your deductible. It may make the annual premium better by several percentage points and put some money back in your pocket, or the savings may be minimal. If you are reluctant to file smaller claims to avoid the risk of pushing up your premium, raising the deductible may be a particularly sensible move.

5. Shop Around For Better Rates.

If your policy is about to renew and the annual premium has gone up markedly, consider shopping around and obtaining quotes from competing companies. Also, every year or two it probably makes sense to obtain quotes from other companies just in case there is a lower rate out there. Remember, cheap does not always mean good, and going with the lower-priced company is not always the wisest decision.

This is where I come in at Bridge City Brokerage, I can find you the best policy for the right price. I can run your quote through some of the major companies and find the best rate available. Call me today at 503.960.8018 or contact me here and let’s get started.